There is a lot of controversy between breeders and other dog professionals--trainers, pet counselors and even owners--over the best age to place or sell a puppy. Some Papillon and Phalene Breeders claim that they need to keep Papillon puppies or Phalene Puppies longer than the larger breed dogs and they offer several reasons for this, some contradictory.
They say Papillons or Phalenes must stay with it's dam and littermates longer than a large breed for "socialization", or they want to decide if Papillon or Phalene Puppies are show or pet quality, or that it is too fragile to leave earlier, or even that the new owners cannot take care of such a small puppy.
Many non-breeding animal professionals seriously dispute the need for a puppy to stay with its dam and littermates to "learn how to be a dog". In fact, a dog is born with the natural instinct to be what it is. A puppy raised with a litter of kittens will still be a dog--still bark not meow, and still dig in the yard and chase things that run or retrieve or chew--it will not lose it's natural instinct to act like a dog. The actual facts are--humans do not want a dog that has 'stayed with it's dam and littermates to learn to be a dog"!! Humans do not want a pet, especially Papillon or Phalenes, that barks excessively, chews furniture and clothes, goes "potty" anywhere in the house and ignores the human voice and commands.
Instead, most pet-loving people want a Papillon or Phalene puppy that will bond to them, easy to teach to obey basic commands, likes to be with people and is relatively easy to housetrain (we never believe in house breaking) and does not bark for no reason at all. So when does this bonding start?
Nature itself starts breaking the mother-puppy bond when the puppy is fully weaned. Puppies look to those who bring food and safety to establish a new bond. This is when the human--puppy bond begins. When papillon and phalene puppies have a full set of baby teeth and can eat on their own, the dam usually will move away from the puppies more often, to avoid the sharp little teeth. This is the time a wild dog would begin to hunt for her puppies and this is when the papillon or phalene breeder becomes the primary food source for the puppy. And this age is usually around 6 weeks.
Pet professionals and many who also train their own dogs, have agreed that the younger puppies train more easily and bond to new owners more closely when placed between 6 and 10 weeks of age. (there are certain legal restrictions in selling or shipping before 8 weeks in some states)
After this age, Papillon or Phalene puppies slowly becomes more set in their ways and these ways become more difficult to change later in life.
Some papillon and phalene breeders claim they need to keep papillon or phalene puppies longer to determine if they are show quality-this often means they are hoping for a fault to disappear or are hoping that an expected fault does not crop up.
However, there is evidence that the structure of a papillon or phalene puppy at 8 weeks old is the same structure the papillon or phalene dog will have as an adult, AND there is no way to be sure of coat and show worthiness until papillons and phalenes are 2 years old--so keeping Papillon or Phalene puppies 4 to 6 months serves no purpose for either a pet or show.
Some papillon and phalene dog breeders say that the new owners have no ability to care for so young a puppy. Yet, they will say that they love to play with new papillon or phalene puppies and see the personality emerge. We at Pixiedust feel that the new owner CAN care for a papillon or phalene puppy the same as any breeder and the new owner DESERVES to enjoy and help shape the puppy personality to fit the owner and his life schedules.
Some papillon and phalene breeders have gone to the extreme of saying there is no bonding process--that Papillon or Phalene Puppies will love all people equally. There is just too much evidence from research and owners alike that completely disprove this false statement. While older Papillons or Phalenes may become "generalized" and like any owner who treats it kindly, this is NOT the same as that special bond developed between young puppies and a devoted owner. Older Papillons and Phalenes can and do become special pets, but again, this is not exactly the same as the bonding for young puppies.
There are cases where Papillon or Phalene puppies may be too tiny to place at an early age, For good breeders of Papillons and Phalenes, this should be the exception, not the rule. Any good breeder of Papillons and Phalenes should be breeding healthy, sturdy Papillon and Phalene puppies, no matter that they are a toy breed. At Pixiedust, we breed Papillons and Phalenes that can compete in agility and obedience, and still be small lap dogs. And we want all of our papillon and phalene puppies and their owners, to develop that special connection that makes for a life-long companionship between dog and owner.
About the Author
Written by Pixiedust
Pixiedust is a premier breeder of quality papillon and phalene dogs for pet and show. www.pixiedustpapillons.com